Randy Olson
The Stories in our Genes
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Randy Olson
The Stories in our Genes
Thursday, November 29, 2012 6:30-8:00pm

Stories that have become most important to Randy Olson involve cultures or environments that are under threat, usually from some form of commercial consumption. It’s hard to work in other cultures, and many photographers often go in and immediately focus on how visually different a foreign place looks but Randy tries to show how cultures share so much common ground. He has spent his life trying to get into the heads of the people he's photographing so he can put what they are thinking and feeling onto film. He has done this long enough that he now talks about reverse engineering this process so he can begin to see his own culture in the way another culture might see us.

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In his career of photographing for National Geographic magazine he can recognize something that is equally as important, and perhaps more important, than the cultures themselves. It’s another precious and poorly understood resource—the stories written in our genes.

Olson's work has been published in LIFE, GEO, Smithsonian and others, but he has primarily photographed for the National Geographic Society on over 30 assignments that have taken him to 50 countries over the past 20 years. He normally works individually, but often he collaborates with his wife and photographer, Melissa Farlow.

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